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Corporate Mission Statements: Is This the Source of Success?

Updated on May 8, 2013
Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry is an associate professor at the Tillman School of Business at University of Mount Olive teaching management and analytics courses.

In a previous article, I discussed the importance to a business of having a good mission statement. Some firms have no mission statement, some have a poor one, and some have a good one. But the importance of the mission statement is to define what the business is. In another previous article, I chose three mission statements from government agencies, asking a few questions and making a few remarks. In this article, I have chosen three corporate mission statements. The three I have chosen are from very successful companies in software: Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe.

Microsoft

The Microsoft mission statement and more can be found by clicking here. The mission statement is as follows:

"At Microsoft, our mission and values are to help people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. We consider our mission statement a promise to our customers. We deliver on that promise by striving to create technology that is accessible to everyone—of all ages and abilities. Microsoft leads the industry in accessibility innovation and in building products that are safer and easier to use."

Do you think Microsoft lives up to this mission statement?

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Do you think Microsoft's mission statement clearly defines what the company is?

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There are several things to note about Microsoft's missions statement. First, right away the mission statement talks about helping people and businesses. This statement implies that every product Microsoft produces, that product should meet a need. But also the statement implies that Microsoft's goal is to help people rather than make a profit. When people are at the center of a businesses strategic goals, the profit will follow. It also implies that customer service is going to be superior.

The second thing to note about the mission statement is that Microsoft pledges to be on the edge of technology. The objective of being number one and a pioneer in new products is written straight into the mission statement. The mission statement is a driving force for the people in Microsoft to make the company better than any other company.

Apple

Apple's mission statement and more can be found by clicking here. The mission statement reads,

"Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad."

Does Apple live up to its mission statement?

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Does Apple's mission statement clearly define the company?

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Which mission statement is more well-defined: Microsoft or Apple?

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Apple's mission statement clearly defines the products that it makes. This provides a boundary so that the firm does not wander from what it does best. Also, the mission statement emphasizes Apple's leadership in the market. As with Microsoft, being the best is encoded into the mission statement. Finally, Apple also states it is defining the future. This is similar to Microsoft's statement of being at the forefront of technology.

Adobe

The last mission statement in this article is from Adobe and it can be found by clicking here. It reads as follows:

"Our mission: move the web forward and give web designers and developers the best tools and services in the world."

Do you think Adobe lives up to its mission statement?

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Do you think Adobe's mission statement clearly defines the company?

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Which mission statement do you think is best worded?

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Adobe's mission statement emphases two things. First, the needs of customers are paramount. The goal is to create solutions for people that have computing needs. The second emphasis is to produce the best products. As with Microsoft and Apple, being the best is important enough to be put into the mission statement.

Summary

This article has been a look at mission statements from three of America's most successful companies. A person can gain much insight from analyzing mission statements from successful organizations as well as unsuccessful organizations. There are three common features of these mission statements. One is taking care of customer needs, the second is being the best, and the last is being at the forefront of innovation. Maybe this is the recipe for success?

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